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We take a look at four sub-$1000 offerings to help you find the right fit for dipping your feet into the resonator pool.

Almost nothing evokes the sounds of the Mississippi Delta quite like a bottleneck slide dragged across the strings of a resonator guitar. National introduced the resonator to the world in 1927 with their single and tricone guitars. And blues pioneers like Son House and Bukka White used their National resonators prodigiously, churning out Delta gems like “Death Letter Blues” and “Aberdeen Mississippi Blues.” The first Nationals were made from brass. Then, in order to accommodate more budget minded musicians, they produced all-steel versions such as the Duolian.

A few short years later Dobro followed with their spider cone resonator guitar, which became many bluegrass musician’s go-to box. Dobros differed in sound and construction. The spider cone lent a nasal honk to the sound, and many Dobros used wood back and sides. Today a new National will run you over $2,000 and the Dobros (now produced by Gibson) are well over a $1,000. So where does a musician on a budget go to get that Delta vibe? Thankfully, several companies are putting out resonator guitars that the rest of us can afford. Many of these instruments play and sound great and you don’t have to go too far to find a guitar for under a grand that will get your mojo working!

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